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Title: Are Trade-Offs In Plant Resprouting Manifested In Community Seed Banks?
Contributor(s): Clarke, Peter John  (author); Dorji, Kinzang (author)
Publication Date: 2008
DOI: 10.1890/07-0704.1
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Abstract: Trade-offs in allocation to resprouting vs. seedling regeneration in plants are predicted to occur along fire disturbance gradients. Increased resprouting ability should be generally favored in plant communities with a high probability of crown fire return. Hence, communities dominated by resprouters are predicted to have smaller seed banks than those dominated by species killed by fire. We tested whether there were trait shifts in resprouting ability among growth forms (short-lived herbaceous vs. ground-dwelling perennials vs. shrubs) and among communities (rocky outcrop vs. sclerophyll forest) with contrasting probabilities of crown fire return. Resprouting was more common in ground-dwelling perennials and in the sclerophyll forest community with a high probability of crown fire. Soil seed banks were sampled in rocky outcrop and sclerophyll forest communities in recently burned (18 months) and long-since-burned (12 years) locations at interspersed replicated sites. Collected seed banks were treated with orthogonal treatments of fire stimuli or no stimuli, and seedling emergence was measured in controlled conditions. Seed bank composition reflected the pattern of extant vegetation, with resprouting species being more common in the community with a higher probability of crown fire. Overall, however, resprouting species were poorly represented in the seed bank compared to those species killed by fire. Predicted shifts in allocation to seed production were strongly manifested in community seed banks across the disturbance gradient. Fewer species, seedlings, and seedlings per adult emerged from seed banks in the sclerophyll forest. This suggests that the dominance of resprouting species influences recruitment at the community scale. Community patterns in the seed bank also reflected predicted trade-offs with plant size and growth rate. Short-lived species that are killed by fire dominated the seed bank on rocky outcrops, while longer-lived resprouting species were found in low abundance. Life history trade-offs in persistence and regeneration strongly contribute to coexistence patterns between and within communities with contrasting probabilities of fire return.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Ecology, 89(7), p. 1850-1858
Publisher: Ecological Society of America
Place of Publication: Washington, DC, USA
ISSN: 1939-9170
Field of Research (FOR): 060208 Terrestrial Ecology
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO): 960804 Farmland, Arable Cropland and Permanent Cropland Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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